Ok, so, how is a body supposed to acclimate to winter temps when it’s been so mild up until now?? I man, it was a whopping 75 degrees on Christmas Eve day here for cryin’ out loud.
And we should be!
So I’ve been on a bit of a soup ‘n stew kick lately, as that’s the go-to choice when the cold actually hurts, and my fingertips are too cold to type!
I swear, I’d rather be sweating!!
I now see why “old people” flock to warmer climates. I know where I’ll be headed. 😉
So anyways, it was another day of freezing temps, and we really NEEDED something hot to keep us from turning into popsicles! So out came the BIG stock pot.
I hadn’t made cabbage rolls in forever, and I thought it would be fun to serve them deconstructed in a nice, rich, hearty stew form! I almost thawed some hamburger, but the Johnsonville Italian sausage was right on top, and my fingers were burning from holding frozen-solid packages of meat!
I’m SO GLAD that I went with sausage! I don’t know that the stew would’ve been nearly as good if I had used a package of lame ol’ hamburger!
I sauteed the sausage in a frying pan, but was amazed at how there was NO GREASE left in the pan after frying! So next time, I’m going to just do the whole thing in ONE pot. So go right ahead and do it that way, you’ll be very surprised, too!
(*Note that I used Johnsonville’s Mild Italian sausage, though,
as other brands may contain a lot of fat).
This “stoup” absolutely rocked! I added all of the traditional ingredients classic stuffed cabbage rolls have in them, plus a little bit more! 😉
But, I thought the whole stew for lunch thing was “missing something”. It looked lonely, and kind of…well…naked.
So, since I LOVE to dunk, I thought that some cheesy-bread “dunkers” were definitely in need. 😉
And who would I be if I didn’t sneak in some cheese somewhere?? 😉
So I loaded up some Texas bread slices and popped them under the broiler!
*I actually cut the bread into 3 pieces that were perfect “sticks” for dunking! Only two would fit in the bowl, though….so I dunked the third one into the pot….for sustenance….while taking all these photos. Ya know. 😉
I didn’t think that my hubby was going to like this, so I had plans of making him a big ol’ pot of ham ‘n bean soup!
Boy was I wrong!!
That pot of beans would be made at a later date….he LOVED this!!
Miracles never cease! 😉
So if winter is chilling you and your family to the bone, too, this is a very welcoming stew that everyone will be sure to enjoy!! Even the kiddos won’t notice the veggies when you make the cheesy dunkers to go along with! Who doesn’t like warm melty cheese sticks to dip into their soup? 😉
I hope you all enjoy!! And stay warm!!
- 1 lb. good mild Italian Sausage such as Johnsonville's
- 1 large onion, chopped
- ¼ tsp. coarse ground black pepper
- 2 (24 oz.) jars Tomato & Basil pasta sauce such as Barilla's, or your favorite spaghetti sauce (6 cups)
- 1 (6 oz.) can italian herb tomato paste such as Contadina
- 2 cups beef broth
- 1 (10½ oz.) can beef consommé
- ½ tsp. dried oregano
- ½ tsp. dried Italian seasoning
- ½ tsp. dried basil
- ¼ tsp. dried thyme, crush between fingers when adding to release flavor
- 1½ Tbl. dark brown sugar, (2 Tbl. if you prefer it a bit sweeter)
- 1 large clove garlic, minced
- 2 Tbl. ketchup
- 1 Tbl. Better Than Bouillon Beef Base dissolved into 2 cups boiling water
- 1 (14.5 oz.) can good stewed tomatoes such as Hunt's, (*break up tomatoes by hand when adding)
- ½ of a small head cabbage, cut into 1 - 1½" pieces
- 2 ribs celery, sliced fairly thickly or as you like
- 1 cup sweet baby carrots, sliced thickly as well, or how you like them
- 4 Tbl. butter
- 1 cup uncooked white long grain rice
- 1 bay leaf
- ½ - 1 tsp. more kosher salt to taste
- In large stock pot, add sausage, onion and sprinkle with pepper. Break up sausage into chunks while cooking. Sauté until meat is fully cooked and no longer pink in centers.
- Add rest of ingredients except rice. Bring to a simmer over medium heat, cover, lower temp, and cook, simmering, for 8-10 minutes.
- Add rice, stir, recover and simmer until rice and veggies are tender over low heat. About 15 minutes longer. *Stir pot now and then to make sure rice is not sticking on the bottom.
- Remove from heat, and let sit, covered, for 5-10 minutes to rest and cool down before serving.
- For Cheesy Toast Dunkers: Top Texas Toast bread slices with mozzarella & provolone blend shredded cheese. Sprinkle lightly with garlic salt and dried parsley. Broil until cheese has melted. Cut each slice into 3 pieces for dunking! (Plan on 2 - 3 dunkers per serving).